BEIJING - On the occasion of the 75th Anniversary of the Renmin University of China, the President of the University, Mr Yulu Chen, bestowed the title of Honorary Professor on FIBA Secretary General and International Olympic Committee (IOC) member Patrick Baumann.
The ceremony took place on the university campus in the Chinese capital and also saw Mr Baumann's fellow IOC members Dr Ung Chang, René Fasel - the President of the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) - and Kevan Gosper having the same honours confered upon them in recognition of their work and contribution to diffusion of the Olympic values and efforts in promoting their respective sports and the Olympic Games.
Renmin University is amongst the top three universities in China, with over 20,000 students. It has the only officially recognised Research Centre on the Olympic Games, notably from a humanistic perspective. It regularly assesses - on behalf of the Chinese government - the impact the 2008 Olympic Games have had on Beijing and its populations.
In his acceptance speech, Mr Baumann presented a historical perspective on the origins of basketball, from the Mongolian steppa to the Mayan pok-ta-pok and the father of the Modern Game, Dr James Naismith.
"It is an an honour and a priviledge to be considered worthy of such a title and to be accompanied by so many and much more experienced colleagues in the field of sport," he said.
"Certainly, the importance of basketball in China played an important role in the selection made by the university. As a consequence, it is also a great responsibility. China, and Chinese students, are hungry for new information, for international exchanges and for more success in basketball at world level. If FIBA can contribute to their objectives, the whole basketball community will benefit."